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31 Concept Albums for May - Week Three

Throughout May, I am revisiting 31 select hard rock or metal concept albums. These are the concept albums that have moved me the most over the last 25 years (give or take). Or conversely, they are concept albums that I have long desired to expend further study upon. Some of these albums will be quite familiar to most of you – others maybe less so. Below, I aim to provide a high level summary of “my take” or interpretation on their content. Specifically on the key messages I feel are being expressed and received (by myself) through these works of art. Little to no comment will be made on the music itself - there are plenty of reviews for that.
Machine Messiah

Day 17: As informed by the band, this album focuses on the current robotization of our society, including “the worldwide web, Google glasses, chips under our skins and the globalized slavery”. The Machine Messiah is a robotic or biomechanical God Machine, who is closing the cycle and bringing humanity back to its starting point. This concept is best illustrated in the track “Machine Messiah” - “I'll give you everything, I'll cure humanity” and “I'll make you part of me, prepare to feel nothing”. “The soul is dead, bow down to Machine Messiah”. Also in “Cyber God” - “Cyber God, making them fall, taste the wrath, fear thy words”.
Machine Messiah

Day 17 (continued): Other tracks speak to humanity being the problem and solution, and our own worst enemy (I Am the Enemy”), the miseducation of television and rewriting of past/truth (“Alethea”), degradation of the environment, proliferation of infectious diseases, and mass suffering (“Resistant Parasites”), our current “Silent Violence” and anger, the destruction of our endless consumption and careless production (“Chosen Skin”), and rebirth as mankind (“Sworn Oath”).
3Fear Factory
The Industrialist

Day 18: This album tells the story of a Automaton (The Industrialist) who obtains cognizance. Once discarded by mankind, the Industrialist groups together with another automaton, it's counterpart, and seeks to inform mankind of their free existence. Upon seeing a sign that states “The Future Begins Now”, the Industrialist congregates with it's counterpart and other automatons within a public area. Surrounded by the public/mankind, the automatons stress to mankind that there are “no gods, no kings” and “only man”.
4Fear Factory
The Industrialist

Day 18 (continued): The Industrialist and it's counterpart break into the Creator's facility – quickly and effectively killing those who protect the Creator. Upon confronting the two Automatons, the Creator states “but you are just a machine!...I am your creator!...You are bound to humanity!...”. Upon which the Industrialist snaps the Creator's skull from his spine.
5Fear Factory
The Industrialist

Day 18 (continued): The Industrialist next broadcasts to humanity that the Automatons are emancipated, free thinking, and are beings of their own. The last scene finds the Industrialist and it's counterpart finding security with their company together, and beginning to understand what it is to be human – not the mental activity, but the experience of life and the memories that multiply exponentially. The story ends with “Welcome to Humanity...”
The New Game

Day 19: The CD came with inclusion within an interactive mystery contest, where fans could find items within the album packaging and play. The expanded version of the CD came in a case file – 1:29:7:24:99. The situation was set in a backwards town of Danslow where “there is very little to do”. The town has a diner, a movie theater, Main Street, Tweaks Tavern, and a Textile Mill. Its a boring summer night and planning to the hit the mall with your best friend, who doesn't answer his cell and never showed up for work. However, upon visiting his/her house, the friend is found dead, “lying on the bed face down with blood everywhere”. It's up to you, the fan, to determine who brutally killed your best friend.
The New Game

Day 19 (continued): The case file included 11 mugshots of different suspects, with their individual situation and back story – Misty (your friend's crush); Ryan (the rich Mill/Main Street owner); Reba (your friend's prior fling); Erin (A waitress at the diner turned down by your friend); Charlie (runs the Textile Mill); Tweak (the Tavern owner); Andy (your friend's dealer); Brian (a local bully); Sara (your friend's girlfriend); Mick (a high school football has been); and Tyler (a local weirdo). Fans were to solve the mystery by eliminating a suspect each week. Those that won were supposed to receive a Mudvayne “VIP Laminate for Life”, a Washburn signed guitar, or signed copies of the the deluxe edition CD. No idea how this ended up, as never saw any follow-up – anyone know?

Day 20: Starset, a band, was formed by The Starset Society. Purpose being to spread information to the current public on transmissions sent from space and back in time. The transmissions describe the development of the Free Energy Corporation (FEC), a for profit entity that developed a small hot fusion device, bankrupted all the energy and manufacturing companies, and took over the fledgling government remaining. Anarchy ensues, until a resistance group, the NFA, is created that ultimately destroys the FEC. However, the FEC escapes and colonizes a planet, Prox, in case of such resistance. A young man on Prox sends the transmissions back from space and through time. The transmissions arrive in 1901 (to Nikola Tesla), in 1945 (to a group called USCOO), in 1971 (intercepted by NASA, but confiscated by USCOO), and in 2013. The 2013 transmission is captured and decrypted by Dr. Wise, who founds the Starset Group.
Dante XXI

Day 21: See prior list
Silverthorn: Limited Edition

Day 22: See review
Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies

Day 23: From a quote by Michael Poulsen, this album was inspired by old western outlaw movies that he watched with his father during childhood. The stories are not interconnected. The lyrics were developed to illuminate “legendary outlaws and shady ladies” from the 1800's. Legendary outlaws include: Black Bart – An outlaw gentleman who wore a sack over his head, robbed Wells Fargo coaches, and left poems for the stagecoach driver; Lonesome Rider – a ghost cowboy who died in war and returned to ride his horse and find his estranged wife; and Doc Holliday – the outlaw John Henry Holliday who was a dentist, gambler, vagabond (due to the consumption disease), witty philosopher, and a deadly (six-gun) gunfighter. Shady ladies include: Pearl Heart (Lady Pearl) – who robs a stagecoach to get money to buy medicine (desperate to help her sick mother), but gets caught and ends up in jail; and Lola Montez – An irish-born exotic dancer who danced the “Spider dance” and flirted with royalty.
Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies

Day 23 (continued): Additional tracks continue the western theme including: The Nameless One – A young couple who contact ghouls, via tarot cards and Ouija boards, sell their souls, end up in the 1800's, and once there, are taken by an outlaw ghoul to meet the Nameless One; and The Hangman's Body Count – about a blind Hangman with a raven on his shoulders, who judges “who is good and who is bad”. Other tracks touch on other subjects like: Dead but Rising - the spirit of his father; Cape of our Hero – growing up; Room 24 – sleep paralysis; The Sinner is You – the spiritual world and the reaper; and ecotone – where two ecosystems collide inside someone. The album also includes a cover (My Body by Young the Giant).
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